Close
Enter your search into one or more of the boxes below:
You can refine your search by selecting from any of the options below:
Search
Your Shopping Basket
Total number of items: 0
Sub total: £0.00
Go to Checkout
Our Birmingham Shop
Books We're Talking About
Our Bristol Shop
Animators Survival Kit

The Pulitzer Prizes

Pulizer Prize

The Pulitzer Prizes were set up by Columbia University in 1917 to reward excellence in journalism and the arts, initially funded by $2m left in the will of publisher Joseph Pulitzer specifically for such a purpose.

There are twenty-one prizes awarded each April, each of which comes with a prize of $10,000. Six of them are directly relevant to the book world: those for Fiction (originally Novel), Drama, Poetry, Biography & Autobiography, History and General Non-Fiction.

The prizes are held in high esteem around the world, with the Fiction Award as significant as the Nobel Prize for Literature in terms of the British reading public's interest. Recipients are chosen by an independent Board, who have also made the nominated finalists - essentially, the shortlists - public since 1980. They choose from entrants selected by a series of Committees.

There have been a number of multiple winners. Robert Frost won four times in the Biography category, while Nobel Laureate Eugene O'Neill matched this achievement in the Drama category. Thornton Wilder won in Drama twice and Fiction once, Robert Penn Warren won Poetry twice and Fiction once and Carl Sandburg also won Poetry twice as well as Biography once. William Faulkner, John Updike and Booth Tarkington all won twice in the Fiction category. Ten Pulitzer winners went on to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, including Toni Morrison, Saul Bellow and John Steinbeck.

The circumstances of 1981's Fiction winner are perhaps the most remarkable. John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces had been rejected by a number of editors shortly before the author's suicide in 1969. But his mother remained convinced of the quality of the manuscript and, enlisting the support of novelist Walter Percy (who was to write a foreword for the first edition), she finally saw it in print in 1980. Initially a cult classic, the award of the Pulitzer cemented its place in the canon of Southern literature as a picaresque masterpiece.

The biggest literary controversy occurred in 1974, when the Fiction Committee unanimously recommended Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow for the Prize, but the Board decided to make no award. Pynchon had already refused to accept the National Book Award for his novel.

In 1941, Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls had also received unanimous endorsement, but the board were persuaded by the President of Columbia University, who deemed the book offensive, not to make an award.

In 2012, three finalists were chosen but the judges were unable to reach a majority decision and so no winner was selected. It has been suggested that the judges were perplexed by the unconventional nature of what they had to choose from: in addtional to Karen Russell's debut novel Swamplandia!, they considered David Foster Wallace's The Pale King, which was completed by his editor after his death, and Denis Johnson's Train Dreams, originally published as a novella in 2002 but reissued as new in 2011.

The 2016 Fiction winner, announced on 18th April, was Viet Thanh Nguyen for his novel The Sympathizer, praised by the judging committee as 'a layered immigrant tale told in the wry, confessional voice of a 'man of two minds' -- and two countries, Vietnam and the United States.' The History Prize went to Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America by T J Stiles. Biography was won by Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan. Ozone Journal by Peter Balakian took the Poetry Prize with his poems that bear witness to the old losses and tragedies that undergird a global age of danger and uncertainty, while General Non-fiction went to General Non-fiction went to Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick.

 

Previous Winners

FICTION

2015: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

2014: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

2013: The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

2012: No award

2011: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

2010: Tinkers by Paul Harding

2009: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

2008: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

2007: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

2006: March by Geraldine Brooks

2005: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

2004: The Known World by Edward P Jones

2003: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

2002: Empire Falls by Richard Russo

2001: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

2000: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

1999: The Hours by Michael Cunningham

1998: American Pastoral by Philip Roth

1997: Martin Dressler by Steven Millhauser

1996: Independence Day by Richard Ford

1995: The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

1994: The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

1993: A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler

1992: A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

1991: Rabbit at Rest by John Updike

1990: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos

1989: Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler

1988: Beloved by Toni Morrison

1987: A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor (currently out of print in the UK)

1986: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

1985: Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie

1984: Ironweed by William Kennedy

1983: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

1982: Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike

1981: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

1980: The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer

 

Selected Fiction Winners before 1990

 

1976: Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow

1963: The Reivers by William Faulkner 1961: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

1953: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

1940: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

1937: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

1932: The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck

1928: The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

1921: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

 

POETRY

2015: Digest by Gregory Pardlo

2014: 3 Sections by Vijay Seshadri

2013: Stag's Leap by Sharon Olds

2012: Life on Mars by Tracy K Smith

2011: The Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan

2010: Versed by Rae Armantrout

2009: The Shadow of Sirius by W S Merwin

2008: Time and Materials by Robert Hass

2008: Failure by Philip Schultz (no UK edition)

2007: Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey (no UK edition)

2006: Late Wife by Claudia Emerson

2005: Delights & Shadows by Ted Kooser (no UK edition)

2004: Walking to Martha's Vineyard by Franz Wright (no UK edition)

2003: Moy Sand and Gravel by Paul Muldoon

2002: Practical Gods by Carl Dennis (currently out of print in the UK)

2001: Different Hours by Stephen Dunn

2000: Repair by C K Williams (currently out of print in the UK)

 

Selected Other Poetry:

1997: Alive Together: New and Selected Poems by Lisel Mueller

1982: Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath

1976: Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror by John Ashbery

1955: Collected Poems by Wallace Stevens

 

BIOGRAPHY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY

2015: The Pope and Mussolini by David I Kertzer

2014: Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall

2013: The Black Count by Tom Reiss

2012: George F Kennan by John Lewis Gaddis

2011: Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

2010: The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T J Stiles

2009: American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham

2008: Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson

2007: The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher by Debby Applegate (No UK edition)

2006: American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird & Martin J Sherwin

2005: De Kooning: An American Master by Mark Stevens & Annalyn Swan (No UK Edition)

2004: Khrushchev: The Man and His Era by William Taubman

2003: Master of the Senate by Robert A Caro (No UK edition)

2002: John Adams by David McCullough

2001: W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963 by David Levering Lewis (No UK edition)

2000: Vera by Stacy Schiff

 

Selected Other Biographies and Autobiographies

1997: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

1967: Mr Clemens and Mark Twain by Justin Kaplan

 

HISTORY

2015: Encounters at the Heart of the World by Elizabeth A Fenn

2014: The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor

2013: Embers of War by Fredrik Logevall

2012: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable

2011: The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner

2010: Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed

2009: The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed

2008: What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe

2007: The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation by Gene Roberts & Hank Klibanoff (No UK Edition)

2006: Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky

2005: Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer

2004: A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration by Steven Hahn 2003: An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson

2002: The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America by Louis Menand

2001: Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J Ellis

2000: Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 by David M Kennedy

 

Selected Other History

1999: Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 by Edwin G Burrows & Mike Wallace

1995: No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin

1973: People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization by Michael Kammen

 

GENERAL NON-FICTION

2015: The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

2014: Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin

2013: Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King

2012: The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began by Stephen Greenblatt

2011: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

2010: The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy by David E. Hoffman

2009: Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A Blackmon (no UK Edition)

2008: The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 by Saul Friedländer

2007: The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright

2006: Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya by Caroline Elkins (No UK edition)

2005: Ghost Wars by Steve Coll

2004: Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum

2003: A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power

2002: Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution by Diane McWhorter (No UK Edition)

2001: Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan by Herbert P Bix

2000: Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II by John W Dower

 

Selected Other General Non-fiction

1998: Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

1985: The Good War: An Oral History of World War II by Studs Terkel

1980: Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R Hofstadter

1979: Gandhi’s Truth by Erik H Erikson

Latest Blog
Read an Extract from Man Booker-Shortlisted The Sellout by Paul Beatty
30/09/2016

Read an extract from the book described by Simon Schama as 'outrageous, hilarious and profound'.

Ben Macintyre Introduces His New Book, SAS: Rogue Heroes
26/09/2016

Ben Macintyre Introduces His New Book, SAS: Rogue Heroes, plus read the Prologue.

A Stinky #FoyesFive!
25/09/2016

Andi celebrates Birmingham Grand Central's First Birthday with her bestselling and rather stinky picture books!

View all Blog Entries
Twitter
Show/Hide Tweets
© W&G Foyle Ltd